Sleep Awareness Week: 12th to 18th March 2023
We aim to learn the best practices to include in our tight-knit schedules to help improve our lifestyle and health. The Sleep Awareness Week was put into place in the late 90s' by the National Sleep Foundation in the United States. The goal is to make people aware of the importance of healthier lifestyle practices with the essential ingredient to having a good day: good sleep.
Why is good sleep important?
We asked our wellness mentor why it is important for us to have a good night's sleep. She explained sleeping helps the cell recovery in our bodies, which improves overall health, well-being and stress levels. A night well slept can result in a day of ideal physical and mental performance.
A lack of sleep or uneven sleep can result in physical and mental fatigue, a weakened immune system, and mood swings. We can assume sleep deprivation causes quite a bit of imbalance in your body. We know that a lack of sleep can, for example, diminish the digestive systems leading to acute psychosomatic disorder, which could demonstrate in the forms of constipation, acidity, anxiety, fear and blood pressure, high and low.
Sleep is just as essential as eating and drinking or even breathing and also an indicator of how the day will play out since it is the first and most crucial ingredient to a good day, as we say.
How can I get a good night's sleep?
Wondering which activities or behavior need to be added to our routine to achieve good sleep? "Regular yoga, breathing practices, healthy dietary choices, reading motivational material, having an optimistic approach, and basic meditation are the basis for a good sleep", she details. While environmental influences, stress levels, and other factors also influence sleep quality, having a healthy daily routine is essential. It can also help overcome those external challenges – at least during a sleep cycle.
Also, a balanced bedtime routine helps to get you to rest well. "It is helpful to consciously leave the hustle and stress of the day behind and focus on something positive, such as gratitude or something that makes us feel good.
One of the most essential tips, with our ever so growing world of technologies, is to avoid them right before bedtime at least one hour prior. Further, eating a light dinner and experimenting with easy breathing techniques while in bed to relax our muscles' tensions from the day is a smooth way to end the day. It helps to settle your mind and brain to rest. Drink lukewarm water to calm your senses and ease into sleep." she tells us.
How to get up in the mornings?
Now that we slept well, how do we get out of bed in the morning and start a productive day? "In an ideal world, you start your day with positive energy, looking forward to the day ahead. Of course, this is not always possible in our lives, but if you set your mind to it, you can find many positive things around you that might not be the most obvious. One way or the other, following a detox ritual in the mornings, is a good practice. Something as simple as starting your morning with one or two glasses of lukewarm water, stretching and yoga practices or even a short, positive meditation session. If possible, and if you are able to motivate yourself, exercise. A 30 – 45 minutes exercise session before getting a healthy nutritional breakfast is a great start to a productive day. I believe exercises of any preference in the morning helps boost those sleeping muscles into action and improve functionality throughout the day".
What are DIY practices and exercises to do at home for a night of good sleep?
Meditation is one of the most common techniques we know to improve sleep quality. Seema shares that "meditation works into reducing cortisol, a stress-inducing hormone within our body. Meditation increases natural melatonin levels, offering a much more restful sleep with breathing and relaxing techniques. You don't have to be a professional in meditating; conscious breathing and focusing on relaxing your body can go a long way.
"Nadishodhan Pranayama (Alternative breathing), Yogic breathing (abdominal to clavicle breathing), and Bhramari pranayama (Humming Bee breathing) are balancing and calming breathing techniques which anyone can do. A bit of practice and guidance
might be needed in the beginning, but you can do that at home in no time."
How to deal with Insomnia?
For some people, it is harder to fall asleep and put their minds at ease; some have Insomnia and struggle through their day sleep deprived. While there might be underlying medical conditions or more professional help needed, people who suffer from temporary Insomnia, there are a few practices to follow. "Again, create a positive environment around your bedtime routine to aid in letting go of the daily stress or negative influences.
Practice breathing techniques as described above and stay away from your phone while in bed (especially if you can't sleep). Read a book (not an e-book) instead or write a journal to get rid of all the thoughts in your head but also to keep track of elements in your life that cause stress for you.